12 Feltwest members attended this workshop, where we got to use leather tools and materials that most felters were not familiar with.
The purpose of the workshop was to cut and attach leather fittings and hardware to make the piece of very strong felt into a useable bag. Participants were required to bring a piece of felt with them, suitable to be made into a messenger bag/backpack. This involved specialised tools, supplied by Bec, who taught the participants how to use them. Below is a summary of some of the tools and skills learned in the workshop.
A strap cutter was the first tool used. The width on this can be set to enable cutting of different width pieces as required. Alternatively, a rotary cutter can be used along a straight edge.
A quilting square is used to measure straight lines and angles.
A diamond pointed stitching chisel is used to make holes in the strap preparatory to stitching, as the leather is too thick to pierce while stitching.
Fittings (ie rivets, eyelets, buckles etc) provided were of solid brass.
Buckles require an inch length of strap to go through the buckle and allow for a bit of movement. The tongue on the buckle needs a slot to allow it to move and work effectively. A special ‘oblong’ punch is used to make the hole. If the strap for the buckle is to be adjustable, 10 holes would be good, approximately an inch apart, starting 2 inches from the end.
Saddle stitching is a very secure type of hand stitching that works well on leather. Waxed linen thread is the best choice, as it is waterproof, and won’t be eaten away by the tannins in the leather. Saddle stitch starts like running stitch, but when you reach the end of the stitching line, you work back the other way to fill in the blanks.
Bec is very competent with using tools and understanding how leather works. She is a clear communicator and a patient instructor, thankyou Bec for leading us through the use of unfamiliar tools and equipment to make a wonderful felt and leather bag. The workshop went overtime, and some of the bags are not yet completed. Feltwest has purchased a set of leather tools and the bags can be completed at a Feltwest Tuesday or Saturday meeting.